The Bucs announced that they got their man for short, Clint Barmes. They inked him for two years and $10.5M ($5M - 2012, $5.5M - 2013), an overpay but one that protected them from a complete meltdown at short if they risked going deep into the free agent season. Chris Cwik of Fangraphs has Barme's story and agrees that he was at the top of the second level of free agents, with a caveat or two.
So it appears Chase d'Arnaud will return to finishing school at Indy, which leaves the back-up infield competition right now between Pedro Ciriaco and Jordy Mercer, unless Josh Harrison can figure out shortstop in a hurry. And poor C Brian Jeroloman, who the Bucs just claimed, has been DFA'ed. We never could figure out why they took him, anyway.
With Rod Barajas in the fold, the Bucs have opted for a little dependability. Cedeno's inconsistencies were legendary, and Dewey couldn't snag nor frame a pitch the few times he was healthy enough to get behind the plate.
Both Barajas and Barmes are older players who hover about .300 with OBP, so the bottom of the order will be pretty problematic next season. But they keep the team at an even keel and can potentially provide some leadership to a team that's still peach-fuzzy and give the baby Bucs a little time to learn their craft.
We're hoping after the recent Aki Iwomura, Lyle Overbay and Matt Diaz episodes that the FO did some due diligence on B & B. The baseball gods couldn't be that ornery again...could they?
Anyway, the hunt continues for at least some added pitching and maybe for first base and a RH bench outfielder. Sooner or later, they're going to have to look for offense. It's hard to see where it will come from internally, at least in the near future, even if Pedro does a 180.
A bit of upcoming housecleaning news: the Bucs have until midnight Wednesday to offer their rated free agents arbitration (which is different from the young players arb). The ranked FAs are 1B Derrek Lee, C Ryan Doumit, C Chris Snyder and OF Ryan Ludwick, all Type B players.
If the team offers arbitration and is turned down, in effect guaranteeing that they will lose the player to another club, the Pirates would get a sandwich pick in the draft. Because Doumit has already signed with another team, Pittsburgh gets a pick for him. The odds are they'll offer Lee arbitration, as they'd like him back. Probably less so for the other two, who would put the Bucs in a bind if they accepted since they're no longer part of the plan. And lastly...
Baseball America has the Top Ten Pirate prospects per John Perrotto, and there's nary a one within sniffing distance of Pittsburgh yet. The article does pick the players with the best tools, and has an interesting sidebar on the 2015 lineup. Neil Walker, McCutch and J-Mac are the only current regulars to survive the next three seasons according to BA's projections; even Hanny is gone.